What is Pre-Germinating Vegetable Seeds?What causes a seed to jump into germination mode is moisture and warmth. Once the seed comes into contact with moisture, and the temperature is right, it will swell and begin germinating. With that said, you can begin the germination process before the seed ever hits the soil by keeping the seeds damp and warm. As stated earlier there are a couple advantages of pre-germinating vegetables seeds, such as:
- Pre-Germinating is a great way to check seeds to make sure they are still viable and not duds. This is especially good to know if you have older seeds that you want to use for your vegetable garden. Some seeds are still viable after many years, but some may not germinate as well as others. With pre-germinating you can now pick out the ones that did sprout and not use the ones that didn't.
- By pre-germinating your seeds you will know for sure it is a good seed before planting, which will eliminate the uncertainty of waiting for days or weeks to see if the seeds will sprout. If the seed begins germination you know there's a pretty darn good chance it will sprout when sowed.
Pre-Germinating Vegetable SeedsLet's say you have some cucumber seeds that you plan to plant in your vegetable garden, but you've had them for seven or eight years. You are uncertain if they will still germinate, or wonder if all the seeds you sow are viable. Pre-germinate them to find out the answers. Here's how to do that: You want to pre-germinate some Lemon Cucumbers you have had stored for several years. The first thing to do is dampen a paper towel. You can wet it with tap water then squeeze out the excess water. You want the paper towel damp, but not dripping wet. Lay the damp paper towel on a flat surface and spread it out as best you can. Next, place the seeds you want to pre-germinate in the middle of the paper towel. You can spread them out a bit if you like so the seeds aren't on top of each other, but it really makes no difference as far as germination goes. With the seeds placed in the center of the paper towel, take the left or right one-third of the paper towel and fold it over the seeds. Then take the opposite one-third and fold it over the seeds. With both ends folded over take the palm of your hand and gently pat the paper towel until it comes in good contact with the seeds. This is important to make sure your seeds stay in contact with the moisture that's needed for germination. Now fold over the top and bottom one-thirds of the paper towel. Again, gently pat the paper towels with the palm of your hand so the seeds and damp paper towel make good contact. You should have a seed satchel that looks something like this. One last step for preparing your seeds for pre-germination. Place the completed seed germinating satchel (well, that's what I call it) into a zipper lock style sandwich baggie. Do not seal the baggie up. You want the seeds to be able to breathe and have some air circulation. Place it in a warm place (around 70°F to 75°F) and let the seeds rest in the damp paper towel for a couple days. Check the seeds after a couple days to see if you spot any that appear to be swelling or changing in size. After three or four days (depending on what type of seed you are germinating) you should begin to see very tiny shoots appear from the seeds. This means the seed has begun germinating and is a viable seed. Once they get about 1/8-inch long or so, they are ready to sow!
Pre-Germinating Vegetable Seeds Is Easy PeasyIt's a pretty easy way to check old seeds and get a bit of a jump when sowing seeds. This can also be done with brand new seeds if you want to. You can pre-germinate almost any vegetable seed and works well with cucumbers, squash, beans, peas, okra, and even tomatoes. The next time you encounter some stubborn seeds try pre-germinating them first.
I Recommend These Awesome Cucumbers!*Hover over each image for the name
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